Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain has revealed racist bullying lead to her first ever anxiety attack.
Hussain, who wowed GBBO judges and audiences alike with her culinary ability in 2015, has struggled with extreme anxiety since being a child, and revealed the harrowing experience which lead to her first attack on BBC’s Nadiya: Anxiety and Me.
The programme, screened last night (15 May), was made for Mental Health Awareness Week and explains how the chef’s battle with anxiety, which she calls her ‘monster’, has roots in childhood bullying and serious family illnesses.
Reminiscing about memories from her childhood in Luton, where she was born, the 34-year-old detailed how classmates bullied and racially abused her. She said: “They would wait in corners and pull chunks of my hair out until it was bleeding.
“They slammed my fingers in doors until all of my nails fell out because they were black and blue, and on the last day at school they flushed my head down the toilet - I still have that memory of the water going up my nose and feeling like if they don't pull me up now I am going to drown with my head in this toilet.”
After this ordeal, she hid in the toilets and had her first panic attack.
"If I could erase my memory, then I would take that one memory out of my head, because that memory is always there," she said.
“It’s often an overwhelming feeling I can't control, a monster that stops me functioning.
"Having anxiety is probably one of the most lonely, most isolating things to have because you are your own worst enemy and you live inside your head.”
Hussain took to social media to thank viewers for their supports after the programme aired. She tweeted: “Thank you for all of the support on here tonight. I watched cautiously and felt nervous throughout but I really hope that now we're talking about it, we keep talking!
“It was difficult to make but worth every tear and sleepless night! We are in it together.”
Thank you for all of the support on here tonight. I watched cautiously and felt nervous throughout but I really hope that now we're talking about it, we keep talking! It was difficult to make but worth every tear and sleepless night! We are in it together x— Nadiya Jamir Hussain (@BegumNadiya) May 15, 2019